BETTER GHAZAL

Benjamin Tice

Anthropocene apocalypse dehydrated now, golden west coast falls to ash,
East coast under fire by blizzard and ice, the homeland is falling to ash.
 
Sharpened stones rend the animal flesh that is charred to incisor’s desire
Early man evolves with his changeling gifts, cooking by fire and ash.
 
Vesuvius thunders in the villa of mysteries. In the streets, man shields his face
with hands, bone hands, wonder-building hands, sealed for eternity in ash.
 
Black shovels spit progress into a furnace; someone shouts “Full steam ahead!”
Blister-worn hands feed the beast without ending, fueling a belly of ash.
 
Radiant minds come to contemplate death; they load its shining body on board.
A thin target separates Little Boy and Nagasaki; so began the black reign of ash.
 
A test for disaster begets a disaster when mute tongues leave uranium dry.
A graph scratches high one elongated spike: the sound of Chernobyl made ash.
 
Ignition makes of them a human-made star as insulation sprays from the rocket
trying to escape an invisible hand with our knowledge of fire and ash.
 
Smelling of campfire and wine, I extol on the table “Hurry up please, it’s time!”
A still more glorious dawn awaits us before our sun sets into ash
Come with me, before we are ash.

 

BENJAMIN TICE is Ohio-born and grew up next to a cornfield and a stop sign. He began writing when a strange turn of events found him living and working in Chicago, IL, drinking coffee and subsisting on Walt Whitman in order to survive. Inspired by space populists such as Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman, he can often be found dancing on the tavern table and singing about the stars. A Network Engineer by day, he currently resides in California with his wife and daughter. This is his first appearance in publication.